ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Meet Robert C. Olson, Editor of The Hosta Journal and the Hosta Named After Him

Today I am making a very special post that is a little different from my usual. As you know from my February 23 post, Hostaholic, I have just written an article for The Hosta Journal. In the last couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting (on-line), and working with, three people involved with The American Hosta Society. It was the Editor of their Journal, Dr. Robert Olson, that contacted me about the possibility of an article. Cheryl Clark, a member of the Society who is also a quilter and hosta lover, passed along my Quilting Arts article to Dr. Olson. Thank you Cheryl (who, by the way, is a reader of my blog!).  I had the pleasure of working with Bob (Dr. Olson) and Janet Mills on the article. Dr. Olson and I have had some pleasant and educational (to me) chats about a variety of topics, including how one gets a hosta plant named after them. 

Dr. Olson wanted to leave a comment on my blog, but he wanted to be sure that all my readers would see it. That might not happen with a comment left at the end of my post. So he asked me to pass along the very kind and gracious message to my readers.

We at the Hosta Journal are delighted that Elaine consented to write a piece for us. Over the years we’ve displayed works by Botanical Art Schools and had photo contests, but this art form will open a whole new world to many members. We’ve seldom had an artist so adept at both photography and writing which makes her article all the more enjoyable. We look forward to sharing it with you.
And if some of you have some questions about hostas, or problems with them, please feel free to contact me. Elaine will provide you with my contact information.
Bob Olson, Editor The Hosta Journal

I thought I would give you the pleasure today of seeing Dr. Olson's garden, especially the hosta plant named after him. He says that his hosta garden "is small by collector standards".
Here is a photo of the hosta, 'Dr. Bob', "emerging and unfolding in the spring, a time of year that we all love to admire them."

This next photo is of the 'Dr Bob' hosta "in mid summer when a wild geranium chose to intertwine itself with the hosta. A concession to Nature in an otherwise rather formal garden."

I asked Dr. Olson to provide a bit of information about himself for readers. Here is a list of his accomplishments and a bio with his story about his involvement with hostas.

Robert C. Olson, MD
Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Gastroenterology 
University of Minnesota Medical School.
Past President American Hosta Society
Editor The Hosta Journal
Bob began gardening with his mother as a young boy, but didn’t return to it until he returned from service in Vietnam with the US Navy. Friends at the Minneapolis Garden Club introduced him to hostas, and it was love at first sight. At one point he had over 500 varieties of hostas, but began downsizing when his wife said the garden was looking like a “stamp collection”. She was right, hostas like other perennials look best when properly displayed. 
In 1995 he led a group of hosta aficionados to Japan (almost all hostas come from mutations or hybridization of a few species from Japan); there they hired plant hunters to take them into the rugged mountains and remote islands to search for species hostas growing in the wilds. They successfully found and brought back scores of native plants.
Now retired he enjoys his garden and corresponding with hosta lovers all over the globe as the editor of the AHS Journal.

Thank you Dr. Olson (Bob) for being a guest on my blog today. It is an honour having an article in  the spring issue of The Hosta Journal.


  1. I love hostas and have had quite a few in my garden. Unfortunately, I am now removing them and finding new homes for them. We have lots of deer in my rural area and they love hostas too! If anyone knows of a way to make hostas taste bad to deer, I'm willing to try. I have tried several of the "Deer Away" type products and nothing works for long.

    1. Hi Marklin, Here you can find ideas how to keep deer away. Read: https://www.hostasdirect.com/blog/keep-deer-away-from-hostas/#comment-1409

    2. Thank you for the link to that very helpful blogpost. I will try some of the suggestions. And thanks Elaine for letting me know about the post!

  2. How great for you! After seeing your quilted Hosta's I can understand why they asked you to write an article. I have a variety of Hosta's and love them I'd have to say they are my favorite plant.

    1. Thanks Jackie. Funny I did not get an email saying you had left this comment. So I only found it when I signed in and went to the comments moderation page due to another comment being received today. As you can tell they are one of my favorite plants too.

  3. Thanks for your comment Jeanne. I'm going to pass your question on to Bob.


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